Sunday, September 25, 2005

Rest In Peace, Man's Best Friend

In my former life as a vet tech, one of the hardest and most difficult things to watch or do was, as it was so often euphemistically put, "to send him/her to a better place". No matter how rationally one explains it, there is nothing that salves the wound about the decision to end the life of your animal companions. All you can do is to grieve and to let it heal with the balm of memory.

Such is the sorrow that Blog Ally GayPatriot and PatriotPartner are feeling at the end of life for their canine companion Romper. As I did for Worthy Adversary Pam of Pam's House Blend, I now reprint, in Romper's memory, George Graham Vest's Eulogy on the Dog.

The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most.

A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its clouds upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.

A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side.

He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.

Rest in peace, Romper. Your family and friends miss you.

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